In a training camp dominated by surprises, none perhaps is bigger than the buzz that an undrafted rookie is making.
As Oakland Raiders training camp progressed into Day 6, one player’s name has kept coming up multiple times since the start of OTA’s. His name is Breon Borders, an undrafted rookie from Duke University.
Everyone loves an underdog fighting his way to achieving the impossible, Borders is doing just that and then some. Who is this undrafted rookie and what can we expect from his towards the end of camp and into preseason? The answer to that question remains unanswered, but there’s a lot to like about this undrafted rookie and why Raider Nation should be on the look out for #31 from now on.
At 6’0″ 180 pounds, Breon Borders (22 years old), was a three-year starter (4-year player) at Duke University playing the cornerback position. At the college level, he had a very productive career with 34 passes defended which is an ACC Single Season record since 2005. He had 12 career interceptions and allowed only a 38.3 percent competition percentage in the 2016 season.
Breon Borders: The Player
From what I have seen from Breon’s college tape shows me that he is a very sound and fluid corner. He excels in off-man coverage and has a knack for cutting routes and recognizing plays. His raw athleticism allows him to make plays on those 50-50 balls with ease. In run support, Borders is a tackling machine accumulating 107 solo tackles in his collegiate career, he would’ve had more if it were not for an untimely injury sustained in his last season which forced him to miss some time.
So why didn’t Breon get drafted? Aside from being in one of the deepest cornerback drafts in recent memory, there are some blemishes to Breon’s game. He struggles in playing man coverage since he does not have that elite speed to keep up with the faster receivers which in turn leads to him getting burnt on occasion. He is not the type of player that is comfortable with his back toward the quarterback, and he will occasionally get lost with the deep plays.
These things aside, I loved watching his tape against Notre Dame (Which you can see here) where he made several big plays showcasing his athleticism in pass break ups and route recognition. If he can master his technique with focusing on building his speed, he can be a viable rotation at outside corner/slot and maybe even work his way into the line up along with Gareon Conley. General manager Reggie McKenzie has had his successes with finding undrafted players that have contributed to this team i.e. Denico Autry, Jalen Richard, and James Cowser to name a few. Perhaps Borders is the latest to be added to this list.
Del Rio said undrafted CB Breon Borders "came in with serious, no-nonsense approach." Was doing so well with 2's, they put him with the 1's
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 6, 2017
What Others Are Saying
With training camp underway and many headlines now starting to be generated, fans are eating up what the media, players, and coaches have to say but the hype around Borders is legitimate. If there’s one word I could use to describe Borders here in the early going it’s this; Playmaker.
I’ll leave you with some quotes from people who have been impressed with Borders, and stay tuned to RaiderRamble.com for all your latest Raiders’ thoughts, columns, and news.
“You know what, every time I turn the film on it’s like he makes a play. I think that that’s how those guys catch your eye. All that you can see is, ‘Man, who’s 31?’ kind of a thing. And then throughout the offseason and here at camp, he’s really proven himself. The more guys like that that make plays, I’m all for it.” – Derek Carr (Quarterback, Oakland Raiders)
“Can’t pick CB Kenneth Durden since he was on practice squad LY, so my supersleeper (undrated to make it) is CB Breon Borders out of Duke.” – Vic Tafur (Reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle)
“Team mixing up reps in secondary. Breon Borders, an undrated rookie from Duke, worked at 1st-team slot. T.J. Carrie with 1s, Sean Smith 2s. – Michael Gehlken (Raiders beat writer from Las Vegas Review-Journal)